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  • Writer's pictureJazzLover

Al Jarreau. A Tribute to a Legend.

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

In the vast tapestry of musical history, there are certain individuals who emerge as shining stars, leaving an indelible mark on the industry and captivating the hearts of millions. Al Jarreau, a name that resonates with brilliance and unparalleled artistry, stands tall as one of the true musical legends of our time.

With his mesmerizing voice, dynamic performances, and innovative approach to music, Jarreau soared to great heights, solidifying his place among the all-time greats. This comprehensive article delves into the life, achievements, and enduring legacy of Al Jarreau, paying homage to the musical genius who forever altered the landscape of contemporary music.

Al Jarreau

Early Life and Influences

Born on March 12, 1940, in the vibrant city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Alwin Lopez Jarreau, later known as Al Jarreau, was destined for greatness. Growing up in a culturally diverse neighborhood, Jarreau's musical journey began at an early age. His exposure to a rich tapestry of genres, including jazz, R&B, gospel, and even classical music, shaped his musical sensibilities and laid the foundation for his future success.

A Journey Begins: From College to the Stage

While pursuing a degree in psychology at Ripon College, Jarreau's passion for music blossomed, leading him on a transformative path. In the intimate setting of college life, he honed his skills by performing in local clubs and venues, captivating audiences with his remarkable vocal range, soulful delivery, and undeniable charisma. These early performances served as a launching pad for the incredible musical journey that lay ahead.

Breakthrough and Stardom

The mid-1970s marked a turning point in Al Jarreau's career, as he released his critically acclaimed album "We Got By." This groundbreaking work showcased his velvet-smooth voice, innovative scatting, and heartfelt lyrics, captivating audiences and critics alike. The album's success propelled Jarreau into the spotlight, opening doors to a world of opportunities and cementing his status as a rising star. Subsequent releases, including "Glow," "All Fly Home," and the chart-topping "Breakin' Away," catapulted him to the pinnacle of stardom, establishing him as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

Musical Mastery: The Al Jarreau Sound

Al Jarreau's music transcended boundaries and defied categorization. His distinctive sound was a harmonious fusion of jazz, pop, R&B, and elements of world music. His ability to seamlessly blend different genres and styles set him apart, captivating listeners with his unmatched versatility. Whether crooning silky-smooth ballads, infusing scatting into his performances, or adding rhythmic improvisation to his repertoire, Jarreau showcased a musical mastery that remains unparalleled.

A Trailblazer and Innovator

Jarreau's boundless creativity and willingness to push artistic boundaries made him a true trailblazer in the realm of music. He fearlessly experimented with various musical styles, seamlessly incorporating elements of funk, soul, and even electronic music into his compositions. This innovative approach not only captivated audiences but also inspired a generation of musicians to explore new realms of musical expression. Jarreau's influence reverberates through the works of contemporary artists who continue to draw inspiration from his boundary-breaking legacy.

Unforgettable Live Performances

One cannot discuss Al Jarreau without acknowledging his legendary live performances. Whether in an intimate jazz club or on grand stages around the world, his magnetic stage presence and electrifying energy enthralled audiences. With each note, each vocal flourish, Jarreau created a profound connection with his listeners, transporting them on a musical journey unlike any other. His ability to command the stage and engage the crowd made every concert an unforgettable experience, leaving a lasting impression on all who had the privilege of witnessing his artistry.

Awards and Accolades

The magnitude of Al Jarreau's talent and contributions to the music industry is reflected in the numerous awards and accolades he received throughout his career. Jarreau earned a remarkable seven Grammy Awards across multiple categories, including Jazz, Pop, and R&B. His album "Breakin' Away" achieved platinum status, solidifying his place among the music industry's elite. Furthermore, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame serves as a permanent testament to his enduring impact on the world of music.

Legacy and Influence

Though Al Jarreau left this world in 2017, his legacy remains ever-present. His artistic footprint continues to inspire and resonate with music lovers of all generations. His unique approach to music, characterized by genre-bending innovation, paved the way for future generations of musicians to embrace their individuality and explore new sonic territories. Jarreau's influence can be heard in the works of countless contemporary performers who strive to capture the essence of his mesmerizing vocal prowess and unwavering commitment to artistic excellence.


In the realm of music, there are legends, and then there is Al Jarreau. Through his unparalleled talent, extraordinary voice, and boundary-pushing artistry, Jarreau carved a path that forever altered the course of contemporary music. From his humble beginnings to his meteoric rise to stardom, his musical journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion, dedication, and unyielding creativity.

As we celebrate his life and his musical uniqueness, we are reminded of the boundless possibilities of artistic expression and the enduring impact of a true musical genius.



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